Walking on a Star Unknown Translation Notes

My dear sweet sister! This is a lot of words about food with punny names!

Warning: Contains spoilers for everything in the game!



The original title of the game is "Shiranai Hoshi no Arukikata." "Arukikata" means "how to walk," the middle particle represents "on a," and "shiranai hoshi" means "unknown planet." To be totally scientifically accurate, yeah, it should be "planet." But Japanese conflates "star" and "planet"; "hoshi" can easily refer to both, and while the word "wakusei" specifically means planet, "hoshi" is very often used to mean planet, with this game's text being no exception. I don't think it's unheard of to refer to planets as "stars" in English either.

In general, I went with "planet" in-game except where it felt like they were explicitly making a callback to the name of the game. But even accounting for "I picked this translation over a year ago with only partial information," I think "star unknown" has a better poetic feel as a title, and when Eddie says it near the beginning of the game, he is channeling an adventurous vibe that suits it.

Character Names

"Fukuro" literally just means "owl," but it didn't seem very reasonable to rename her. It's also a play on "ofukuro" being a word for mother, which Eddie actually uses to refer to their mom. "Eddie" might be from "eddy," which vaguely connects to wind, but I dunno.

Badoh Whing is literally just バド・ウィング, or "Bird Wing" minus an extending symbol in "bird."

The Japanese version gave all names in "given name, surname" order with a dot in-between, which is common practice for foreign-style names. However, Giera Toph and Giera Rius appear to be a special case for some reason. The bonus room's mention of 22nd king Giera Ahim confirms it's either effectively the royal family's "last name," or a title of sorts.

Nopass is "Toosan." This could arguably be read as "father" (which, combined with the way he lives at home, you could read into), but is mostly a short form of "toosanai," "won't let you pass." When the manhole to his house becomes openable, it changes to "toosou," or "I'll let you pass" (Dopass).

The Portleys were "Fukuyoka-kun," fukuyoka meaning, well, portly.

Baws and Hench were Aniki and Kobun, which in their context basically mean "boss" and "underling." Their profiles do list them as their "names," though.

Soupirit was "Suupuu," which is just "soup" with an extending mark. But the pun was right there.

Hyottoko and Okame are named after the traditional masks their faces are based on.

Earlybird was "Choukan Tori," literally "morning newspaper bird." However, while the kanji of his name specify "morning newspaper," "choukan" also means "bird's-eye view," and he does shout "Choukan! Choukan!" without kanji. Given how his reporter personality suits it, I rewrote those parts into "Bird's-Eye News, bringing you the early word!", which is an equally excellent series of puns.

Toss-R-Us was "Tobashi-ya," literally like "a shop/dealer of tossing/flinging." Since it's hard to put that concisely in English (and I'll let Super Mario Sunshine have "chuckster" to itself), the pun name won out.

Salmi, Akki, and Licoris are all a pun on... "salmiakki licorice." In the Japanese version, Akki was actually "Atsuki"; however, this is because the second "k" manifests via a small "tsu," so making it a large "tsu" slightly obfuscates the pun. I wondered prior to Segawa telling me about the pun if Licoris was meant to bring to mind "lycoris," as in higanbana flowers (given they were important in END ROLL), but that's apparently just a coincidence.

Cultney was basically "Cult-chan." Maybe making it more "occult" than "cult" would be better (though the Japanese doesn't do that either), but someone having the name Occultney is preposterous, surely.

The Grandsprite was "Daiyousei," or "large/great fairy." (Nice Touhou Reference, Segawa)

Place Names

Calpucca is "Karupukka-sei" (note that the -sei on these planet names just means planet/star), which apparently has no real meaning. I wondered if it might be "kappuru ka" backwards, which through kanji wordplay could be "couple power," but Segawa told me it was just a fictional name, so I guess not.

Pytch was "Makura-sei," an obvious pun on "makkura" for "pitch dark." Legoom was "Biin-sei," so literally just "bean." Ankhempt was "Mossari-sei"; very little context is given to it, but I took it to be "unkempt." Leithe was "Rokuro-sei," a potter's wheel. Festev was "Ukare-sei," to be festive. Shokkah was "Odoroki-sei," surprise. And Wuttevs was "Tekito-sei," which basically means "just do whatever."

Fidgey Forest was "Wasawasa no Mori." "Wasawasa" means restless or lively.

Metroville City was "Machitaun City," so like... "town town city." You can see where I went with that.

Bello Lake was "Chite" Lake, coming from "chitei," underground.

Demask Detective Agency was "Hyakumen" Detective Agency, or "hundred faces/masks." Either one fits for masked people (robots) who tell you information about others.

Innasec Shallows was "Attoiuma" Shallows. Which means "in the blink of an eye," literally "in the time it takes you to say "ah."" I also like reading it as "they'll be shallow(s) in a sec."

Cardedisc Isle was "Te-sutohi" Isle, which is "hitosute" ("people abandoned") backwards. So the English name comes from "discarded." Rest in peace to my pet raccoon, Ded Rac Sid.

Opti Mart was "Menta Mart." This is a pun on "mentama," eyeball. I went with "Opti" from "optic," and it also feels fitting as a pun on "optimal."

The Whitwoods were just "Shirono Mori," or "white woods." Yawn. ("Shirono" is all katakana, however, which indicates it's not "Shiro no Mori." So it is meant to be a name, and not just literally "white woods" ala the Red Forest.)

Dangerion Hills were "Togepopo-gaoka." The "gaoka" suffix effectively means "Hills," and "Togepopo" is a play on "tanpopo," dandelion, that adds the word "thorny." Thus, Dandelion -> Dangelion -> (Neon Genesis) Dangerion. I intended it to be said with the same inflection as "dandelion" (dann-jer-eye-on).

Longdown Cliff was "Rakka" Cliff, which just means "fall/drop."

Nuage is French for "cloud." Well.

Species/Group Names

The Owuls were "Ouru-zoku," which just comes from "owl" in English.

Fungelites were "Takeda-sama," which you could basically read as "it's a mushroom" plus a high-ranking honorific. Which fits with what they are. (There's also a Mockingbird who says he'll drop the -sama out of disrespect - or "from now on, I'm calling you Fung!")

The Sooticci were "Kuromochi-zoku." As explained by one of them, it comes from them being black (kuro) and sticky (mochimochi).

The Bienz were "Biinzu." Enough said.

The Huemins are... well, humans. However, while the butcher's shop sign uses the kanji for human, 人間 (ningen), they are otherwise exclusively referred to as "jinkan," which is an alternate (wrong) reading of those kanji. There are a few odd exceptions where 人間 is used, though: A Grudge says they need to be "more inhuman," Nopass's "People, huh... People, huh..." actually used "human," and Midorino in the bonus room says she doesn't want to see tied-up "humans." I made the former two use "person" since it seemed sort of accidental, but Midorino seems aware of what they're "really" called ("my father was an Earthling, or as they say here, a Huemin").

The Kochka are named after the Czech word for "cat."

The Mayflau were "Meifurawa-zoku," so it was more directly referencing "mayflower."

The Heedhorn were "Kaburuhoon-zoku," which effectively just means "horns worn on head."

The Ravin were "Kurou-zoku," obviously from "crow" in English.

The Flugel are named after the brass instrument, the flugelhorn. What that has to do with dragonflies, I'm not sure. It does contain "ryuu," but the Japanese word for dragonfly (kagerou) doesn't have anything to do with dragons.

The ReveR are "Sakasa," which means "reverse." Of course, "sakasa" is also a palindrome.

Sprites were "yousei," which can be translated as "fairy." However, there is a variety in their appearances that made "sprite" seem more appropriate.

The Avenly were "Tenjou," which literally means "the heavens." Thus, Avenly comes from "heavenly."

Terms and Such

Starvi was "Peko," which comes from "pekopeko," being hungry. Starvi was the ideal play on that and the star theme which would also fit in six characters.

Cookteria was "Cook-dou," a play on "shokudou" (cafeteria) that replaces the first part, meaning "food," with the English word cook (which is pronounced "kokku" in Japanese, so it's similar to shoku).

The Gourmeet was "Gurume Fes," or "Gourmet Festival." The banners around town used to say 美食 (delicious/gourmet food), but since they appear in pairs, I made one "Gour" and the other "meet." The Gourmate Cooking Tournament was "Gurumeito," which I figured was meant to be "mate" even if there's no obvious reason why.

Characters frequently use a standard word for "alien" to refer to the main siblings and other interplanetary visitors: iseijin, literally "person from a different planet." (I suspect the more typical "uchuujin," literally "space person," didn't sound quite right when people think of themselves as "part of space" rather than "us on Earth vs. anyone else." Not that this word goes totally unused.) But when talking about the people of Megalopolis who invaded, they use "hoshi no hito," person from the stars. This was a signficant distinction, outright stated by Waystern's book about the Starling War, so I made that Starling. No relation to birds intended.

Paphithyst was パフィジスト (Pafijisuto), Cyuize was キュイズ (Kyuizu) , Kikamerci was キカメルシ (Kikamerushi), and Meralite was メルライト (Meruraito). Paphithyst and Meralite seem to clearly reference amethyst and emerald (plus numerous -lite/-rite gems), and Kikamerci is likely referring to "kikai" (machine), but I couldn't really find any connections with the others. Like, my best guess for Cyuize is "turquoise" (which is "taakoizu" in Japanese).

There's a book in Umteto that assigns some of the gems as birthstones for fictional months. In Japanese, it's as simple as saying "15-getsu," but in order to make it clear in English, I had to come up with a bit of a weird system to create months past 12. Decamay is the 15th month (10 + May), Decasepten is the 17th month (10 + septen, except it's 7 septen and not 9 september), and Duodecapril is the 24th month (20 + April). If you think in terms of there being 10 months in the Roman calendar before July and August were added, it almost makes sense. So if November or December were ever brought up, I would probably have them use this convention instead (Decajan, Decafebra).

Fairflora was "Kireihana," pretty flower. Fairflorits was "Kireihana-yamai," or "Fairflora disease." Florina was "Ohana-chan."

The Sora-Basho should be self-explanatory for players of Segawa's other games. The Umi-Basho was in the sea, the Yama-Basho was on a mountain, and the Sora-Basho is in the sky.


The Belcomeback was "Okae-rin," a combination of "welcome back" and "bell." (Or the sound of one - the description is like "ring it with an okaeri~n.")

The Langturn was the "Hikaranpu," which seems to just be hikari (light) + lamp. For the purposes of "a lamp that translates languages," though, this was the ideal pun.

The Spritely Ring was "Yousei Fiiringu," a pun on "feeling" and "ring." The Sprite choice happened to work well here. (There's also an Eddie line, when talking to certain Sprites, where he hints toward switching to Fukuro by saying "I can't understand them with my feelings"... which is a great line.)

Dolcelius was "Sharisude," which looks like a mess, but it's an anagram of "delicious" (derishasu), and thus so is Dolcelius... except with an L instead of an extra i, which like, close enough. And I worked in "dolce" for "sweet."

Viewsweek Monthly was "Monthly Medamagazine," another pun on "eyeball" (medama).

The Busted Radio was named in reference to the song "Kowarekake no Radio," and its description further referenced the lyrics. Thus, I changed that to "Video must've killed it." The price was also 1990 originally, in reference to the year the song came out, so I changed it to 1979 accordingly. Of course, I probably would've been more hesitant about that change in a game where you don't just make money from walking.


Pevery was "Momomo," the word for peach with an extra "mo." So I made it a joke on "each and every."

Appies were リソゴ (Risogo), which looks so much like the actual word for apple (リンゴ, ringo) that I read it that way for a good while before noticing it used the similar-looking "so" instead of "n." (I swear it's not that hard to tell those apart when you're familiar with the language - this is just a special circumstance.) l considered using a capitaI i... very briefIy.

Mushtools were "Kinokodake," which basically mushes together two readings for mushroom (kinoko and take). So I did something similar.

Bayliefs were "Rooriwe," which is just the word for bay leaf, but using the archaic character "we" (ゑ) instead of "e."

Dondistherbs were "Kizukanasou." This can be read as "not likely to notice it," but "sou" also means grass/herb. Thus, there were lines like "they grow in places where you may not notice them."

Abee Honey was "Biimitsu," a play on "hachimitsu" (honey) that uses the English word "bee" instead of the Japanese word "hachi." Since bees are referred to by this English name in a few places, I called them "Abeec(ees)."

Cooko Nuts were "Kogenattsu," which could be equally seen as a play on "coconuts." "Koge" means burnt or cooked.

Delishalt was "Oishio," a portamanteau of delicious (oishii) and salt (shio).

Iam Sauce was "oshouyu," which is just... "o" plus soy sauce. I took "soy" and translated it to "I am." You know, like a translator does.

Bienz Beans were "Biin Mame," mame being the normal word for beans.

Icktater was "Yami-imo." At first I figured it was just "darkness potato," but it's likely a play on "yamitsuki," to become addicted. Thus, "addict-tater." (Plus it's poisonous, so.)

Vertswimmie was "Tateoyogi-kun," and he had a hard life. (He debuted in Farethere City.) "Tate" is vertical and "oyogi" is swim. Enigmafish is also a guest star, from END ROLL. This is why the "collaboration merchandise" at Opti Mart is either from Farethere City or END ROLL depending on which fish you caught. I feel like "Sun" Rod getting Farethere City, "Moon" Rod getting END ROLL, and this game being "Star" Unknown is probably intentional, too.

Friskyfin was "Pichipigyo" - "pichipichi" as in lively, and "gyo" for fish.

Heericlam was "Mouiikai," which plays on a phrase said in hide and seek ("is it okay (to start seeking) now?") and "kai" for shellfish. Meanwhile, Reddyornaut was "maadadako," a play on one response to that phrase, "mada da yo" ("no, not yet"), plus "tako" for octopus. In the ingredient list for Hide & Seek Pasta, they're in the natural order for the Japanese joke, but the joke ended up needing to switch that order in English, so I made sure to manually swap them there.

Icecargo was "Samukarugo," a similar portmanteau using "samui," cold. Yes, I know it should probably have a "t," but the name lasted all the way from "as soon as preview screens were posted" to "when it was nearly ready to release" without that so much as occurring to me, so it just seems like an affront to nature to add it now.

Cheeze was spelled チィーズ (chiiizu) instead of チーズ (chiizu), so I figured it should have an alternate spelling. (Imagine there being more of a pronounced "zuh" sound at the end.) Of course, sometimes characters just say "cheese" normally too.

Sitrus was "Kankiitsu," which is a very slight modification of "kankitsu" for "citrus fruit."

Hakata's Salt is named after a real product, with a commercial jingle that goes "Ha! Ka! Ta! No! Shi-o!" Hence the Navi-Robo remarks about "is that name... okay?"

Tomahtoes were "Tomeito." Yeah, yeah, I know. In Japanese, "tomato" is written トマト and consistently pronounced "tomahto," so the joke is that it references "that other pronunciation we don't use." There's also a Bienz who mentions トマトゥー (tomatuu), which is yet another play on it.


The main siblings very frequently called each other "gokigen mai shisutaa" and "gokigen mai burazaa," AKA "good-spirited" plus "my sister/my brother" in English. To mix things up, I had Fukuro use "my dear beloved brother" and Eddie use "my dear sweet sister."

The siblings use English words in odd ways fairly frequently, but the most notable is probably Eddie saying "brother." He uses it as a term of affection for some of the friends, yet also, when it starts to rain on the Warming Cocoa route, he describes himself and Fukuro with the English words "unlucky brothers." This indicates he (and/or Segawa) sees "burazaa" as a synonym for "kyoudai," sibling(s), which informed my translation of it elsewhere. Namely, like "kyoudai," it can be more like "bro" or "buddy" depending on the context.

The Fungelite in Fidgey Forest who says things in "the cadence of won't you be my neighbor" originally referenced Ohanashi no Kuni, an educational NHK show about language and literature for young kids. I considered several programs, and Mr. Rogers seemed like a good fit which the dialogue could fit into.

The Cookteria wa-horkers' "waha" gimmick wa-has originally just the frequent use of "danu" as a sentence-ender (and as far as I can tell, the choice of "danu" is just arbitrary). Not wa-hery exciting.

The Portleys often used "fu" in place of "su" (and they say "defu ne~" a lot), the idea being that they're basically talking with their mouths full always. Also, でふ (desu -> defu) sure looks a lot like でぶ (debu, chubby), which may have been intentional.

The Star Goddess speaks kind of strangely and uses English words, but her use of "non" was also there in Japanese, so I generally leaned toward using French for this. She says "Bye" in English letters when she leaves, which looks humorously out of place, so I tried to achieve the same with "Ciao ☆"

The Bienz threw in lots of random katakana to approximate stilted speech and dropped all small tsu's (i.e. "yappari" -> "yapari"). I translated this by placing word breaks in places they should not be, implying weirdly-stressed pronunciations.

The language of Sprites isn't seem particularly interpretable, and sometimes messes up the conceit by reusing the same sentence with a totally different meaning. So I just transcribed it, applying various rules like "always use L instead of R" and "drop "u" when it's at the end of a word" to make it look good. I transcribed the "small vowels" as "wh/yi/wu/ye/wo," since those are used liberally, yet normally only make sense when preceded by certain characters, and simply using the vowels as normal would be boring. Also, some Sprites spoke in all hiragana and some in all katakana, but I didn't bother making a distinction. But in general, I believe the "fairy-like" ones used katakana and the "djinn-like" ones used hiragana.

Midorino has an Osakan accent ("uchi" to refer to herself, ending sentences with "yade," "han" in place of "san"), and I struggled a bit with whether my translation of the accent was on the right track... but at least feel "y'all" is suitably equivalent to "otakura." The Oedo have similar, but distinct accents.

The black signs with Bible quotes around Tofu Town are direct references to real signs like that (with black backgrounds, white text, and yellow highlighting), made by the Scripture-Spreading Cooperative (which is just a group, not a real religious organization). I imagine Segawa mostly just thought they'd be funny choices for something from Earth that Midorino thought looked cool but couldn't read.

"TATERS... ARE... TATER-NAAAAAL!" was "IMO... IS... IMMO-RTAAAAAL!", which is Extremely Good.

Twelam alternates between referring to herself in third-person (likely related to the fact that children often do this in Japanese media; her speech is usually childish in general) and using the first-person pronoun "atashi" (even in the same dialogue box sometimes), so I generally kept the third-person talking where it occurs. If it had just been the former, I probably would have had her talk in normal first-person, but it's clearly an intended thing.

There's a sandwich in Opti Mart that was called the "Kyaanobitasandwich!", which is a joke on the line "Kyaa, Nobita-san no ecchi!", or "Eek, Nobita, you pervert!", from Doraemon. So that's... a thing. The only decent joke I could think of (especially accounting for the siblings' comment that it probably doesn't taste good) was "Headdinda Sandwich."

The Ringleader at Grudge Circus mixed a katakana "hi" randomly into words, presumably to invoke the idea of laughter. So I did... basically that, but spelled "hee."

The "green grass grows all around" Sooticci in Metroville City referenced "Ningen tte Ii Na" (Humans Are Nice), a popular children's song. (Actually, that's another sorta indirect mention of "humans," isn't it...?) The replacement I picked felt like it suited the nature of "replying with the next line of the lyrics."

The second answer to Fukuro's love quiz question about fireworks was originally "Tamayaaa!", which is the name of a fireworks manufacturer, and something often shouted when fireworks are launched in Japan. So there was more of a joke here in which she was like "Heehee, it does make you want to shout. I don't know what "Tamaya" means, though." Alas, I couldn't think of anything along these lines that would make sense in a non-Japanese context. Segawa, Your Non-Earth Setting

The clown near Sirene on Day 3 saying "lan lan luu" is a reference to that U.N. Owen Was Her? video Japanese McDonald's commercials where Ronald McDonald (or... "Donald McDonald"...) does it. And in that same area but on Day 2: the Sailor Moon reference was all Segawa.

When you give the Star Goddess the Fried-Eyes in Nuage, she says "my stomach is a black hole" (or literally, "my stomach is the universe"), which is the catchphrase of the main character from the Japanese TV drama Food Fight. This was... a thing I just happened to know already.

Posted January 1st, 2019

#walking on a star unknown

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